Manufacturing is an incredibly complex industry. It involves hundreds of variables that need to fit together like the pieces of an exceedingly difficult puzzle. From supply chain to workforce, from plant automation and equipment to processes and quality control, and from engineering and design to sales and marketing, there are an unlimited number of participants and touchpoints to consider. All of this in an increasingly competitive environment amidst the constantly changing needs of customers worldwide. To sustain business growth and gain a competitive advantage, manufacturers are increasingly turning to digital automation. However, the goal of automating processes to achieve business efficiency must include the critical customer-focused aspect of the manufacturing business – manufacturing sales.
Understanding the manufacturing sales challenge
Manufacturing sales is a long and tedious process. It involves several stakeholders at every stage. Salespersons must collaborate with technical experts, logistical personnel, and management during the process of providing a quote that includes technical specifications, pricing, and other information. The next stage can include sampling, field visits, compliance, and price negotiations before a deal can be considered final. Depending on the complexity of the product itself, the need for customization, or the number of customer interactions required to close the sale, the process can drain resources and take several months.
Can technology improve manufacturing sales?
The modern tech-powered sales environment is extremely fast-paced. Manufacturing sales teams today are expected to meet the always-on needs of their business customers. One would assume that the digital tools that have revolutionized selling in almost every other industry would have simplified the world of manufacturing sales too. However, solutions in manufacturing are far from simple. Where technology can undoubtedly increase capabilities, it can also create new pressures and new silos that now need to be interconnected.
To enable manufacturing sales teams to achieve their business objectives with technology, it’s important that the technology itself is designed around the unique and complex needs of manufacturing sales.
In Mind Cloud: A Digital Sales Platform, designed for manufacturing sales
In Mind Cloud has accrued years of industry expertise across manufacturing and engineering environments. The result is a robust end-to-end digital sales platform that meets the unique challenges and complexities of the manufacturing sales environment. Integrating powerful CPQ, CRM, and eCommerce solutions. In Mind Cloud gives manufacturers a stable foundation to digitize their sales environment. In Mind Cloud’s sales platform covers the complete sales process from customer inquiry to production online in a central system. An in-depth understanding of all the customer-facing touchpoints in the manufacturing sales journey empowers manufacturing companies to define a scalable end-to-end sales process, improve customer satisfaction and retention and dramatically improve revenue.
Transforming the sales journey at every touch-point.
At every stage, In Mind Cloud’s digital sales platform is designed to make things work more efficiently for all stakeholders. At its core, it transforms the quoting process by enabling the automated organization and retrieval of vast and complex ERP data to create error-free quotes within minutes. Powerful real-time ERP data enables sales teams to accurately calculate costs, ensuring that desirable margins can be achieved. The platform also becomes a single point for all stakeholders from different departments or even countries, to collaborate seamlessly. Task management, automated workflows, approvals, and all technical tools are integrated on one platform to help teams work together and sell seamlessly.
Sales Dashboards provide a unified 360-degree view to track customer commitments and manage tasks in the sales funnel, directing sales teams to high-value areas. By prioritizing opportunities, it visually highlights the most profitable deals and customers with the highest business potential. Sales Forecasting tools enable the use of data from across the manufacturing process to build forecasts and reports to make better business decisions, faster. The platform also provides superior after-sales management tied directly to CRM functionality. Customers have 24/7 access to the business through a convenient commerce platform to automate repeat purchases or equipment-specific spare parts. The indispensable two-way communication between the ERP and customers also provides a level of transparency that builds customer trust and long-term loyalty. In Mind Cloud empowers manufacturers to delight customers and simplify their buying journey.
How In Mind Cloud’s sales platform delivers business value
Central data management and out-of-the-box integrations make it easy for businesses to see value and implement In Mind Cloud’s sales platform at their own pace. In Mind Cloud customers have reported optimized time-to-value and cost-savings by reducing margin eroding mistakes from simply providing higher accuracy and speed in quoting out in the field. An In Mind Cloud client providing engineered-to-order manufacturing testifies that the number of production changes dropped from 26 to less than five on a specific tender. Businesses achieve significant savings and a competitive edge through lower lead times that can lower the overall cost of sales. According to a study by McKinsey, digital sales can improve the win rate of offers by 20 to 40 percent, while costs-to-serve drop by up to 50 percent. In Mind Cloud has also enabled manufacturers to quickly expand into new channels, markets, and regions by enabling highly scalable sales operations.
The Digital Sales Platform from In Mind Cloud can not only transform the sales process and the way manufacturers sell, but just as important, the way customers buy. Empowered by a powerful sales channel, and a well-managed customer-facing ecosystem, a manufacturing business can find itself primed and ready for business growth, success and most importantly, a rapidly changing future.
Guest Author: Dominic Starr
Dominic Starr is a key member of the growing North America sales team at In Mind Cloud, serving as its director of sales, where is focused on driving customer growth originating in the US, Canada and Mexico. Most recently, Dominic served for five years as vice president of North America for sales-i, Inc, a UK-based SaaS platform for distribution and manufacturing sales teams. He was responsible for triple digit sales and headcount growth of the U.S. office team consisting of sales, customer success, training, project management and managed services consulting. Prior to sales-i, Dominic spent 21 years in telecommunications, originally in the start-up Nextel Communications, Inc., and later Sprint after the $39B merger in 2004. At both Nextel and Sprint, he served in a variety of sales and sales leaders ship roles including enterprise sales, sales operations, solutions consulting and sales engineering.